The complete history of LAPD; including the Gates years.

Badge of Honor
Ventura Distribution  More Info

Authors of the Los Angeles Police Department - LAPD

Chief Daryl F. Gates

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Daryl Francis Gates was born in Highland Park, California, on August the 30th, 1926. The depression had an impact on his early life, with his father becoming an alcoholic after losing his job and frequently ending up in trouble with the police in Glendale where they lived. His mother had to support the family alone and they received government hand-outs. But although his family were poor their home was never without hope, Daryl graduated from High School and joined the navy seeing action in the Pacific. Shortly after leaving the navy he attended college on the GI Bill and married, in need of an income, his friend suggested he join the LAPD.

In 1949 he joined the LAPD. Among his roles as an officer, Daryl Gates was picked to be the chauffeur for Chief William Parker. William Parker was credited with being the Chief that reformed and streamlined the LAPD, bringing in changes to stamp out corruption and improve efficiency. One such change was to assign police according to the time of day and neighborhood where crimes were committed - a proactive approach to policing, which made LAPD the most aggressive police department in the country. As his chauffer, Daryl Gates soon learned the importance of political support.

Gates worked hard for his promotional exams and came out first in the Sergeants exam, and in fact came out first in every exam after that too. On his promotion to Lieutenant he rejoined Chief Parker as his executive officer. During his early career gates also worked on the Manson Family and the Hillside Stranglers murders.

He was promoted to Captain and became responsible for intelligence, and by 1965 he was an Inspector, shortly before the Watts Riot erupted. In 1978 Daryl F Gates became the 49th Chief of the Los Angeles Police Department, and little did he know that he would be the last of the great politically powerful Chiefs of the LAPD, as after his tenure a system of 5yr terms was devised.

Daryl F. Gates is credited with inventing the SWAT - Special Weapons And Tactics concept, in 1965. This is a model used by law enforcement agencies throughout the world today for their specialized units dealing with hostage rescue and extreme situations involving armed and dangerous suspects. In the 1960s Los Angeles had some serious troubles with sniping incidents against police officers and civilians. Ordinary officers didn't handle those situations at all well, because line police officers, whose job is simple law enforcement, get limited weapons training, very little weapons practice, and effectively no team combat tactics or "counterforce" capability. Officer John Nelson came up with the idea to form a specially trained and equipped unit, intended to respond to and manage critical situations while minimizing police casualties. Inspector Daryl F. Gates approved this idea, and he formed a small select group of volunteer officers. The first SWAT team in world was born, LAPD SWAT, D-Platoon of the Metro Division. This first SWAT unit was initially constituted as 15 teams of four men each, for a total staff of 60. These officers were given special status and benefits. They had to attend special monthly training. This unit also served as security unit for police facilities during civil unrest. Daryl F. Gates is the author of Chief: My Life in the L.A.P.D.

One reader of Chief: My Life in the L.A.P.D. said, “There is a good reason this book is so hard to find: it is one hell of a good read from the early start of the super chief’s career all the way to his unfortunate retirement this book takes the reader to the inside of the LAPD's world. The Chief did a great job for his first attempt. This reviewer only hopes he will produce more! The viewer gets an insiders look at the nations best police department the Los Angeles Police Department.”

One reader of Chief: My Life in the L.A.P.D. said, “A hard to find book but one well worth reading to anyone interested in law enforcement or, in particular, the LAPD. I couldn't put it down. Gates does an excellent job in providing the reader with a good picture of the Los Angeles police force and the trials and tribulations it's endured for the last 40 years. Gates comes across as a chief who genuinely cares for his department and it's officers as well as the community in which they serve. Plagued by a seeming knack to say the wrong thing or be endlessly misinterpreted by the media, one can not help but like the man and sincerely hope he will pen another one in the future.


Chief : My Life In The L.A.P.D.
DARYL GATES  More Info

The Book description of  Chief: My Life in the L.A.P.D. sayes, “The boss of the cops who beat motorist Rodney King looks at the events that marked his career--from the Watts riots to shoot-outs with Black Panthers--goes on to discuss the death of Marilyn Monroe and Bobby Kennedy.”

One reader of Chief: My Life in the L.A.P.D. said , “The Prologue starts with his visit to Washington for a conference on violence. He returned to Los Angeles at the time of the Rodney King attack. (Who was minding the store?) Chapter 1 tells of his early life, and the impact of the Depression on his family. His father's lost job was followed by alcoholism and hard times; they depended on government handouts (p.6). His mother was the backbone, and sole support of the family; his father was often in trouble with the Glendale police. After graduating from High School, Daryl joined the Navy and saw action in the Pacific. Daryl went to college on the GI Bill, married, and needed money. A friend suggested joining the LAPD.

Officer Gates learned there were more traffic deaths than homicides in 1950 LA. People got citations because warnings had no deterrence (p.20). The people Gates encountered were no poorer than he had been, but the Gates home was never without hope (p.23). Chapter 3 tells of the corruption in the LAPD before Chief Parker. Gates says Mayor Shaw and the underworld controlled the LAPD (but doesn't speak of the local ruling class). Gates was picked to be Chief Parker's chauffeur, and learned the importance of political support (p.31). Gates also learned of Parker's faults. Chief Parker streamlined the organization, reassigned police by time of day and neighborhood where crimes were committed. Parker instituted pro-active policing, creating the most aggressive police department in the country. Page 36 tells of the power of the 'Los Angeles Times': it elected mayors, and told the City Council how to vote (no mention of the powers behind them). Chapter 5 tells how hard he worked at preparing for exams. Gates came out first for the sergeant's exam, and for every exam afterwards (p.58). Promoted to lieutenant, he rejoined Chief Parker, and became his executive officer (p.65).

Promoted to captain, he learned "you can't give up on people" (p.68). Soon he was in charge of Intelligence. Gates noticed a lack of good protection for JFK in 1963 (pp.73-4). Gates explained the conflict between Chief Parker and J Edgar Hoover (p.76). Mob influence was minimal in LA, compared to Chicago or NY (p.78). There were checks and balances to avoid corruption (p.85). Gates was promoted to inspector in 1965, before the Watts riot. The postwar baby boom led to a huge increase in the number of young people, the predominant age group for criminals (p.105). Gates political skills paid off when he won the biggest pay raise in department history (p.130). The May 1974 incident with the SLA made SWAT famous.

"People really don't have the freedom to know what is going on in the world, only the freedom to know what the media wants us to know" (p.181). Proposition 13 "substantially lowered property taxes", and Chief Gates came up with a budget cut that avoided layoffs. One of Gates decisions was to allow each officer to choose when to wear a short-sleeved shirt. Gates discusses the two "chokeholds": one disables, the other can kill (p.214). Page 216 tells how the 'LA Times' misquoted him. Page 242 tells how the FBI tried to gain control of the LAPD. Chapter 19 tells of his efforts for gun-control. Was he angling for a plush job with Gun Control Inc? Or a Federal job with some agency (p.128)? Chapter 20 has some suggestions on fighting crime. The Rodney King beating gave his many enemies a chance to oust him (Chapter 22). Gates boasts of the lower ratio of police to population compared to NY or Chicago. But the places with less population density tend to have less crime. And so do places with "the right to keep and bear arms". This also made LA different from NY and Chicago. LA also has a lower ratio of pedestrians.”

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